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Do you ever stop and stare at streetlights and wondering how they are changing in the era of acceleration? I do!

Intelligent infrastructure is the Rodney Dangerfield of the age of autonomy, and doesn’t get any respect. But in this era in which everyone is paying attention to the self-driving vehicle trend, few are watching an equally significant development : the era of intelligent infrastructure.

The road you drive on and the bridge that you cross are also becoming intelligent, connected, aware and data-gathering. The impact everywhere is significant: everyone from construction companies to architectural design firms will be impacted. Here’s a bit of a hint of what I’ve covered on stage on this trend just in the last year.

Sometimes, it’s best to comprehend a trend, by observing it. So I went out and played by some traffic!

As they say, timing is everything, particularly when it comes to the issue of getting involved in any particular trend. In the era of acceleration, it becomes even more critical. You’d better make sure you are ready with any trend of importance and relevance, because the future might happen before you know it.

I spend a lot of time on stage talking about the issue of timing on stage, particularly in the context of the “Gartner Hypecycle.” It’s been a key go-to on my client innovation guidance for well over 15 years. The interesting thing is that it’s really risen to the forefront in the last year, particularly as technology journalists have trie to explain the rise and fall of the BitCoin bubble.

The other thing about timing? The future is staggered and uneven – it doesn’t happen everywhere all at once. It’s phased by location, sector, and other discrete perspectives. Think about self=driving vehicles – we’ll see them happen in some ways faster, and in other ways, slower. I was in New Orleans, saw some crowded streets, and it was the perfect opportunity to talk about the issue of timing.

Any new technology, trend or idea goes along a curve – it appears, then hits the time of excessive hype and expectations. That is followed by the inevitable collapse of enthusiasm as people realize that it takes a lot of time and effort to implement the future, and determine the opportunity that comes from it. But inevitably, both the expectations, idea and capabilities mature, and the trend becomes a key component for innovation and so much more.

The timing issue? As Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired noted, “the future happens slowly, and then, all at once.” Any particular trend can bubble along for a time, seemingly inconsequential and of little impact. And then, all of a sudden, it can ‘go supernova’, explode in importance and significance – and suddenly, be everywhere!

That’s why my mantra to “think big, start small, scale fast” gives a key shoutout to timing. “Start small” implies that you should be on board with any particular trend, despite the potential immaturity it might have, because you want to make sure that you understand it, have experience with it, know how to work with it – and are ready to go when it “goes supernova!”

In almost every single industry, there are people who are thinking big and bold about the opportunities that surround them. This includes completely rethinking about the nature of the product that they are bringing to the marketplace or the service that they might offer.

The energy and transportation provides the perfect example : a world in which your electric vehicle actually becomes a key component of the energy grid.

Energy is one sector where we have seen the emergence of a tremendous number of radical new ideas – even, for example, ’24 hour solar power plants’, or the ability to grow solar panels from plants.

Vehicle-to-grid connectivity? It’s a new, fast emerging trend, and you might find that within but 10 years, most cars are part of the energy system. I ran out to a local Tesla Supercharging station to film a little clip to explore the concept in more depth.

In the last few months, I’ve had two keynotes where I’ve put in perspective the marriage of the Internet of Things with blockchain as a trend. This is a pretty massive issue yet one with a lot of hype and hysteria. I’ll have lots to post and say in the coming months on it. Here’s a short clip from one of those talks:

The first of these events was a leadership meeting was for Columbus McKinnon, a manufacturer of overhead cranes used in manufacturing, entertaining, shipping and logistics; the second was for the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association. The first group asked me to outline for several hundred of their engineers and sales staff how the essence of what they build and sell will change as they become ‘smart and hypercpnnected;’ the other wanted a talk that put into perspective the fact that the very nature of what they lease will change through such connectivity.

Here’s the thing: most #IOT (Internet of Things) projects today are a complete failure – they are insecure, built on old outdated Linux stacks with mega-security holes, and ill-thought out architectures. My slide on that fact? Simple: a reality which is already happening today. This type of negligence will doom of the future of the products of many of the early pioneers.

So here’s the thing: if organizations are going to build a proper path into the hyperconnected future, they need to understand and follow my “11 Rules of #IoT Architecture.” Read it, print it, learn from it : this is what you need to do as you transition to becoming a tech company. Some of the biggest organizations in the world have had me in for this detailed insight – maybe you should.

My inspiration for how to build the future right comes from Apple’s robust Device Enrolment Program architecture, which lets an organization deploy, manage, upgrade and oversee thousands of corporate iPhones or iPads; and Tesla, which is not really a car company, but a hi-tech company.

And so in both of these talks, I put into perspective how Tesla has (without knowing it, LOL) been following my rules. First, think about what a Tesla really is – here’s my slide….

Going back to my list of the 11 Rules of IOT Architecture, you can see that Tesla has met a number of the conditions …

Go through my IOT architecture list and think about what has been engineered into the computer that is a Tesla.

Upgradeable: any device should have the ability to be upgraded from afar, automatically, either by user choice or centralized management”.

Got that. Consumer Reports didn’t like the braking distance on the Model 3. No problem: that’s a software update.

“Feature addition capable: the design should provide for the addition of future capabilities, some of which might not be imagined yet at the time of development.”

You can do that when you buy your Model 3.

“Prognostic, diagnostic: each device should be able to self-diagnose and report when it is not working correctly.”

Yup, built in.

“Self-repairing: better yet, it should not only know when things are going wrong, but have the capability to fix it once it is aware”.

Let’s fix it at night….

“Programmable: the device should be controllable by users, to the extent that is possible within a predefined robust security and privacy architecture.”

User/driver interactivity is at the heart of operator interaction.

“Self-reporting: the device should be able to report on a wide variety of information pertaining to operations, proximity, location, status, etc.”

Built in. And yes, there’s an app for that (above).

“Swarm data-generating: it should be able to generate types of information that, in concert with other similar devices, is able to be manipulated to provide some unique operational, predictive or maintenance-information data-set (or more)”.

It’s a data gathering machine.

“Intelligence-capable: it should have or be provided capabilities to make its own decisions based on input data.”

As in, a new AI based, neural network…..

“Grid-connectable:  it should be able to exist or participate within a connected series of devices to achieve some original or newly conceived purpose.”

Vehicle-to-grid connectivity is a huge trend!Tesla isn’t participating fully yet, but it will. Your car battery becomes a part of the energy grid….

Here’s the thing: Elon Musk understands the need for a great IOT architecture. Most CEO’s of Fortune 1000 companies don’t, and until they get someone who does, their project will be a fail. They’ll likely put the future of their company at risk through security and privacy failures, product failures and more.

Get with the program, folks!

I’ve had several keynotes recently where companies in the manufacturing, transportation, automative and financial industry have asked me to come in and help them sort of what is going on with Bitcoin, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, and business model disruption.

That’s typical of the type of highly customized keynote that I take on. What caught the attention of these clients, leading to keynote bookings in Las Vegas, Montreal, Vail and elsewhere, was my keynote topic, “Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Bitcoin and the End of Money: Understanding the Ultimate Disruption“. Learn about the that topic here.

With that, here are two clips that give you the essence of what you need to know.

First, BitCoin. Seriously, it’s just funny.

Second, Blockchain and the Internet of Things? Massive. 10 years from now, we’ll look back and go, “Whoah!”

If you are in any industry, you need to understand how the Internet of Things and blockchain are coming together, and what it means. As I state at the end, “you don’t need to understand how it works – but you need to understand what it does” in terms of disruption of your industry.

The folks at Hiability decided they needed to share with their customers and their industry the fast trends which are disrupting their world. They are one of the world’s leading provider of on-road load-handling equipment, intelligent services, and digitally connected solutions.

And so they found me.

The result was this article, appearing the Hiability Magazine last month. Enjoy!

The intro? “The future belongs to those who’re fast,” says Futurist Jim Carroll, one of the world’s leading futurists and an expert on trends and innovation. As the line between technology companies and traditional companies blur, everything we know about business from retail to inventory all disappear. How can the logistics, transport and material handling sector cope with this eventuality? Let’s fine out.”

Read the PDF, or click on an image. The full text follows below.

 

The future Is Now!
Hiability Magazine, September 2018
by Payal Bhattar

The future belongs to those who are fast’, says Jim Carroll, one of the world’s leading futurist and trends & innovation expert. As the lines between technology companies and traditional companies blur, everything we know about business from retail to inventory will disappear. How can the logistics, transport and material handling sector cope with this eventuality? Find out.

—-

Imagine a world where production lifecycles are collapsing, where inventory is passé and where companies can mass customize products and send them immediately and directly to consumers. Imagine all this not a harsh reality but a huge opportunity that is knocking at the doors of businesses worldwide.

The logistics sector is the heart of this big disruption. Driven by new technologies like blockchain, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and analytics. This ‘Amazon effect’ means that we are building a massive new logistics system to get goods directly to people’s homes from factories.

Why store a product when it can be mass customized and sent to the consumer right away through 3D printing and end-of-runway manufacturing? If inventory as a concept disappears, what happens to the very concept of logistics? We will also see neighbourhoods in the future with drone-delivery pads on the driveway. As retail disappears, logistics has taken on a new form and function that is unimaginable,” says Jim Carroll.

Data is King

Take the example of trucks. With technology related to battery storage and electric vehicles developing at a furious pace, moving goods form one place to another is becoming more cost-effective and efficient. Several companies are working on having their own automated fleets where trucks will be self-driven battery-operated electric vehicles that are smaller and compact. Built with just a few thousands auto parts versus the 40,000 to 50,000 parts today these smart vehicles will operate like hyper-connected computers generating several gigabytes of data every hour.

According to a report on the US truckload (TL) Industry by McKinsey, In the long run, autonomous vehicles will reduce the total cost of ownership in the TL industry by 25 to 40 percent, including fuel consumption by 10 percent. Delivery times could fall 30 to 40 percent. Capital expenditures could drop significantly because the number of crashes may decline by about three-quarters. As a result, the bill for insurance will also decline.’

Detroit is no longer in charge – Silicon Valley is. Cars and trucks are essentially becoming hyper-connected intelligent-aware computers that are data-gathering and analysis platforms. They will eventually become an overall part of a massive new energy grid. That’s a big change”, explains Jim Carroll.

In Focus: Last-mile Delivery

It’s not just trucks, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence are already taking over inventory management and warehousing. Today high-vision fully automated forklifts and other robotic and automated guided vehicles are an integral part of the logistics sector. They not only offer more efficiency, higher speed, safety and accuracy in picking and boarding orders for delivery but are also helping companies radically bring down the high costs of fuel and labor.

Experts say that automation and last-mile delivery will lead to unbundling of tasks and create several new jobs which increase the complementarity between human tasks and machine work like supervisors, network managers, fleet managers, drone logistics managers, sensor cleaners, maintenance staff etc.

A report by PwC UK explains, ‘new technologies in areas like AI and robotics will both create some totally new jobs in the digital technology area and, through productivity gains, generate additional wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds, primarily in services sectors that are less easy to automate.’

Beyond the Horizon / The Need for Speed

So what are the key trends for 2018 and beyond? Industry experts say that the Internet of Things, robotics, last-mile delivery solutions will continue to fuel the growth of the sector and reshape its landscape. Cobots or collaborative robots that interact with humans and work with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will replace robots that operate with limited guidance.

As direct-to-consumer manufacturing becomes dominant, the middleman will be eliminated or changed in significant ways. There’s a lot of hysteria about job loss, but few are taking about the new jobs and careers that are emerging, “ says Carroll.

In the year ahead, safety & cyber security will assume more importance for the logistics sector, mobile applications will play a big role and technologies to beat the weak spots in autonomous delivery and transport will emerge. It’s going to be a completely different world and only the nimble-footed will survive. Are you ready?

 

Read the context of this quote.

Then ask yourself this question: when will it happen? I get asked the question a lot; in fact, again yesterday while in the middle of a golf round.

Here’s how I explained the fact that I think it will happen sooner than people think:

  • EV’s involve enormous simplicity compared to carbon/gas cars. Let’s say, a few thousand parts compared to 40-50,000. Anyone can and will get involved.
  • it involves battery storage, and that is a science that is evolving at a furious pace
  • the entire form factor of a car changes once you get rid of a gasoline engine. They’re smaller, more compact, easier to design and build. We’ll be 3d printing them before you know it.
  • cars are essentially becoming hyperconnected computers. Simply put, that speeds up a slow industry to a fast industry. Detroit is no longer in charge – Silicon Valley is.
  • it’s all about the data. Cars didn’t have data. Now they do. And they generate and process lots of data – upwards of 7 gigabytes an hour for self-driving vehicles.

As I explained in one recent keynote: cars and trucks are essentially hyperconnected intelligent-aware computers, being data-gathering and analysis platforms, that become an overall part of a massive new energy grid.

They aren’t really vehicles anymore, but essentially, something that is brand new. When something is new, it turns on the imagination and creativity machine of people world-wide, and that is happening at hyper speed today.

This is why organizations like Mercedes Benz, Chrysler, Volvo, Mac Trucks and others have had me in for my insight on the most transformative industry change occurring in our world today. Learn more from my keynote, “Accelerating the Auto Industry in the Era of Self-Driving Vehicles

You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice. Here’s what you need to think about.

The Trapeze Group had me in to headline their annual user group conference – individuals thourhgout the global urban transit industry. As with many of my events, I went above and beyond and delivered far more that most other speakers who simply pay lip service, with a custom event video, Q&A and more. Read about that on this blog post, Are You Stuck with the Same Old Boring Keynote? Stop it NOW!.

But wait! There’s more! I also hosted a private meeting of key leaders in the sector; I had CEO’s and senior executives of transit organization from Memphis, Nashville, Long Beach, Dallas, Spokane, Philadelphia and more. This gave them a chance to dive deeper into the issues I framed in my keynote.

 

 

What did we cover? Take a look.

Bottom line? You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice.

This morning, I have a situation where a client is considering me to headline an event in the road building industry.

I’m encouraging them to get on the phone with me to help them understand I’m the right guy for a highly customized keynote on the future of roads and highways, but while waiting on that, I thought I would simply write them a keynote topic description! Why not – I’ve been doing numerous customized keynotes in this area. Here’s a video clip from a recent one in which I talk about the impact of hyper-connectivity and the Internet of things on the future of roads and bridges – and the fact that none other than Amazon has this business in their sights!

Keynote: The Future of Intelligent Roads and Intelligent Highway Infrastructure

The pace of change with future road and highway technology is going, if you pardon the pun, from fast to furious!

We are witnessing the arrival of intelligent highway monitoring technology, embedded into roads, bridges and other aspects of our transportation system, accelerating the business of road technology to the speed of Silicon Valley. The arrival of V2I (“vehicle to infrastructure”) technology, which allows cars and vehicles to communicate with this embedded, intelligent infrastructure, providing for more robust, intelligent traffic routing. The emergence of the Internet of Things, which promises a new era of hyper-connectivity in the design of vehicles and everything that they interact with. The arrival of new construction methodologies and ideas involving 3D printing, advanced robotics and virtual construction capabilities. An acceleration in the very nature of the materials used in bridge and road construction, such as developments in the science of concrete that leads to new opportunities for tensile strength. The fact that  Amazon is now a harbinger for business model disruption in the ‘business of traffic’ – the organization actually owns a patent involving big data and analytics related to traffic flow, which might provide for a pay-per-access to intelligent highway routing capabilities! The era of self-driving cars, which will take the industry from a slow and simple world of innovation to one that parallels the speed of smartphone innovation! Advancements in battery technology, the rapid evolution with the electrical grid as a result of renewable energy and other trends — and the sudden arrival of roads which charge vehicles as part of the business model of transportation! Intelligent street lights which become an overall part of the transportation system, providing for monitoring, analysis and traffic management! Then there is the skills issue – as the build a more complex road and highway infrastructure of the future, the current range of skills might not be up to the task. Not to mention the arrival of the next generation who will arrive on the job site with their iPad, mobile device, with full expectations of a hi-tech, advanced and sophisticated future of road construction.

Whoah! That’s a lot — and it’s all happening faster than any road and highway infrastructure executive realizes. What is today’s modern road and highway infrastructure executive to do? Align to the opportunities of tomorrow rather than just the challenges of today! Clearly we live in a time of massive challenge, and yet one of massive opportunity, with every industry and organization impacted by business model disruption, the emergence of new methodologies, the impact of technology, and an acceleration of all trends.  Those very things which might have worked for us in the past might be the very anchors that could now hold us back as the future rushes at us with ever increasing speed, particularly in the traditionally slow industry of road-construction

In the era of Uber, Tesla and Amazon, leaders must have the insight into unique opportunities for innovation and change. Everywhere we look, we can see acceleration, speed, and velocity: and in times like these, time isn’t a luxury.

In this keynote on the future of roads and highways, Futurist Jim Carroll takes you on a voyage into how the new rules of business and technology are providing for a reality in which the spirit of agility isn’t just an option – it’s the new normal!

 

 

What is the role of a futurist? We share with you ideas and insight that might help you to figure out what comes next!

That’s what I do, and these days, I’m often using the story of the Jetsons as an example of past predictions which are quickly coming true. While doing my ongoing research on the Jetsons, I came across a remarkable video that came out of Disney, and featuring Walt Disney himself, that predicated the trends that we would see with cars and highways into the future. It’s called  Magic Highway USA, and it’s pretty remarkable for the accuracy of the predictions. Backup cameras, traffic maps, radar and so much more.

Check out the video from 3:45 seconds …. with the autonomous vehicle, and one which flies! This seems to be the Jetsons before they appeared on TV  in 1962. And from that point, it’s a full self-driving car, with time dedicated to working, watching TV and other activities while the car drives itself. Not just that — rocket transport at 6:55, and the Hyperloop at 7:48.

Kick back, give it a watch!

 

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